I got up this morning as usual at 6:30 – no alarm clock – this is when I take Angel out for her morning pee. Then it hit me, a blow to the heart. She wasn’t there. No stretching and shaking and preceding me down the hallway to the stairs, eager to start the day. No lick for my hand when I attach the leash to her collar.

Yesterday we had helped her over the rainbow bridge, as they say.

Our constant companion for the past seventeen years, our little feisty girl had needed help as her heart slowly gave out. Her walks got shorter and shorter, her naps longer and longer, and when she tried to follow me upstairs, she would faint from the exertion.

Angel was always up for something new – a walk, a ride in the car, a trip to get her nails trimmed, an introduction to other dogs. She never met another dog she didn’t like. She was our house alarm, alerting us to anyone or anything that shouldn’t be in our yard. The house is so quiet now!

And with the death of our second dog, Rock, I became her alpha, her anchor. She followed me everywhere and greeted me when I came home with joy and jumping, even if I was gone for only an hour. During our recent trip to Europe, she spent every day by the door, waiting for me, according to my daughter.

This is so very hard for me to write, but I need to do something to mark her passing. Angel was a huge part of our lives, loyal, energetic, funny, loving. I miss her acutely and always will. A part of my heart is gone.




48 thoughts on “ANGEL”

  1. That is so sad, Noelle. My dog, Delia, died last October and I found myself bursting into tears unexpectedly at the most inconvenient times. 17 years with an Angel is a wonderful blessing, which of course makes departure all the more poignant.

    1. We do take out pets into our hearts! I am still having tears at different times, remembering something. I recall bursting into tears telling someone about the death of my dog Jeff when I was thirteen, some forty years later! Dogs are so loving, loyal and non-judgemental.

  2. I absolutely understand your feelings. I type this now with my Goldendoodle Sasha across my feet, making sure I don’t sneak out of the house without her. When we take a dog into our home, we do so to fill a void. When they leave, that void definitely returns. She is still with you, and you will most likely be reminded of that often as you go through your day. One day, she’ll let you know that it is time to open your heart to another dog to help you close that void once again. Wishing you peace and love as you grieve your loss.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Susan. I do see her everywhere. I know it was time to let her go – her heart was failing – but it was so, so hard.

  3. My heart aches for you. Losing your ‘girl’ hurts so much. Keep her in your heart and she’ll always be close by, and remember that in you, she had the best life she could’ve possibly had.

  4. Oh Noelle, what a sad post – my heart aches with yours as I remember how many puppies made their way to Rainbow Bridge before me. People who are not what I call “true pet parents” may not understand that the grief is as difficult to bear as it would be to lose any other member of the family – but those of us who have been where you are today grieve with you.

    It is small comfort – really none at all right now, I’m sure – but it helps me to remember that it is the price of loving these furry little spirits, and that it is well worth paying, ultimately, because of what they add to our experience of living for the short time they spend with us. Whether that is 17 years or 17 months, it is always too short. We are never ready to let them go.

    My last Shih Tzu had to be “helped” in her 19th year, and I would have given anything to have one more week, even, as long as it didn’t cause pain to her. It was almost two years before I was ready to look for another puppy, even though I knew I would fall in love anew and that he, too, would probably break my heart in the same manner.

    I know you know that the ache will not remain acute forever – that it will soften over time – and that it will never go away completely. I still experience a pang every time I think about each of the many Shih Tzu who have graced my life since my grad school days. How much worse it would be if their passing left no marks on our hearts.

    But that is no help at all right now. Right now you grieve and my heart breaks for you. I am so sorry for your loss.
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

    1. Thank you, Madelyn. Such true words. When you lovesomeone or something, there is always the inevitability of loss.
      This was compounded by the fact my son is being deployed next week – Angel was really his dog, although she became my constant companion.

  5. I am very sorry for you loss. While I obviously just lost my father, I have had to help a beloved pet to the Bridge before as well, and I know the pain and grief is just as terrible. Hugs

    1. So wonderful of you to comfort me when you are obviously in pain yourself. Give yourself time – time always seems to soothe, although it never completely stops the ache.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing, Ro. I remember the time when I was in my early 50s and I burst out crying, talking about losing my first dog, Jeffrey. I was 13 at the time, and the pain was still there, just hidden for so long!

      1. Isn’t that incredible. I haven’t even tried to minimise how the kids feel about losing Bilbo…or myself and my husband. It just is an awful feeling.
        Today, I was out and saw a large Border Collie soft toy in a shop and brought him home. He’s designed for kids with autism and is a weighted toy so while he doesn’t weigh as much as the real thing, he has substance. I offered for my son to sleep with him tonight, and he told me there’d be no room in his bed. I think it has helped, especially as we don’t want to rush out and get another puppy at the moment. Wait toil next year.

      1. It is very hard. I met someone the other day who said they only had one dog and that’s it. My parents had the one dog. My mother couldn’t get another one at the time and then we moved out. My brother ended moving home and befriended the neighbour’s cat across the road and that was great but he died of a tick. The neighbours now have an indoor cat. My parents and brother don’t want the responsibility and have also been scared by vet bills.

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